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When trivial became good again: On iPods, 9/11, and Steve Jobs

iPod Classic by Aaron Logan

In 2011, it’s hard sometimes to remember there was life before Facebook or iPhones. It’s hard to remember that one had to sit down at a computer and log into an email account rather than having the messages delivered to a smartphone in a pocket. It’s hard to remember the once-coveted music compact discs and their portable players, and it’s nearly impossible to remember music was once played by a moving stylus on a plastic disk with grooves. And although new names make headlines every day, a look at the past decade’s nearly frenzied embrace of technology shows the influence, the reach of Steve Jobs.

Although I had used Apples and Macs at school and work for years, Apple gave me my first real taste of truly personal tech in 2001. Shortly after 9/11, the news service where I worked received two supercool-looking gadgets from Apple they wanted us to test drive and write about. It was called an iPod, and its 5GB hard drive held “1,000 songs in your pocket.” (A 1,000 songs?!! Really?!!) I got to take one home and play with it — and I played with it for hours, which turned into days.  After my test drive, I was able to pre-order one. I was one of the first people in America to own an iPod. It’s probably my greatest achievement.
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Steve Jobs: R.I.P. 1955-2011


UPDATE 10-06-2011: I say goodbye — and thanks


Steve Jobs: R.I.P.

UPDATE 7:59 p.m.: The Wall Street Journal story


UPDATE 8:13 p.m.: WSJ interactive timeline of Steve Jobs’ life


UPDATE: #iSad trending on Twitter


UPDATE: Twitter mourns a genius


iPod Shuffle: One beautiful tech accessory

Whaddya know? New iPod ShuffleApple (NASDAQ: AAPL) on Wednesday unveiled its updated iPod, Nano, Touch and Shuffle. (There was also much ado about the updated Apple TV, which I have zero interest in.) And although I will one day mourn the loss of the iPod Classic (that’s another post altogether), I’m superpsyched to see the new Shuffle, a throwback to the 2nd-Gen Shuffle, my personal favorite. It’s enough to make me like Steve Jobs again — turtleneck and all.

The 3rd- and 4th-Gen Shuffles were too small for me, and I didn’t like the earphones with the volume controls. I also didn’t like the idea of the “voiceover” feature, which the new Shuffle does have, but because I’m a design loyalist, I’ll overlook that. The new Shuffle also offers the user multiple playlists now, which is exciting because I do get tired of running to the same songs over and over. And yes, I do change up the songs on my Shuffles, but now I can manage playlists instead. Supersweet!

For a reasonable $49, you get 2GB of storage and 15 hours of battery life, making it a very affordable personal-tech accessory — emphasis on accessory. The new Shuffle — which is a single piece of aluminum “polished to a beautiful shine’ — is clearly targeted to fashion-conscious young women: “Design. As beautiful as it is wearable.” And “The color palette makes it the perfect fashion accessory.” Buyers get to choose from “gleaming” silver, blue, green, orange, and pink.

Color me excited! (And I’m a not-so-young woman who is anything but fashion-conscious when I run. )

Also new for the Shuffle: Genius, the iTunes tool that picks songs for you. Apple tells us, “It’s the perfect way to rediscover songs you haven’t listened to in, like, forever.”

So, like, yeah: The Shuffle is totally for chicks. But I highly recommend it to the guys. Maybe just not in pink.